Artopolis Association – promoting art in public space in Hungary

Artopolis Association was created in 2008 with the mission of organising cultural and community events focusing on site-specific art and art in public space. The main aims of Artopolis are to introduce a practically unknown artistic form in Hungary, to promote a better understanding of (contemporary) arts by engaging new audiences, to encourage and commission Hungarian artists to work outside of the traditional places and frames of art, to serve as a platform for dialogue about the city and an opportunity for interdisciplinary encounters, to develop a critical approach towards the use of public space, re-think power mechanisms embedded in the urban context, to inspire awareness and a more proactive attitude in the way we think about our urban environments and our participation in public issues. The main activity of Artopolis is organising the annual festival PLACCC which presents an international and local selection of art forms at unusual places and in public space. Artopolis has organized PLACCC Festival 10 times till now and it also supports public art projects of local artists year round. In the past years Artopolis hasn’t received any significant public support, so it secured the financial bases of its activities from other resources (international funds, Hungarian private funds, sponsorship, ticket incomes). 

In Hungary, Artopolis is a unique actor presenting and promoting location specific art and art in public spaces . Through the 8 years of our activity and in great measure thanks to our work, performing art outside of the black box has became more and more popular, furthermore there is a growing interest in art in public spaces from the Hungarian performing artists’ and companies’ side. Among others, we regularly work with companies and groups acting on the field: Dinamó Budapest, Stereo Akt, HoppArt, 011 Csoport, The Symptoms Company, Soharóza Choir. The festival programmes usually attract a great number of audience, performing art events and shows have a full house – depending on the actual location of the performances’, capacity from 70 to 300 people. That means that the number of usual audience of the performing art programmes of the festival is around 1300-1600 visitors / year. The festival has strong visibility on a national and international level.

Scenekunst Østfold – more a laboratory than an institution 

Scenekunst Østfold is a regional theatre based in Fredrikstad in southeastern Norway and part of the umbrella organization Østfold kulturutvikling (Østfold Cultural Development). Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kjell Moberg, Scenekunst Østfold produces, co-produces, and presents a broad spectrum of regional, national and international performing artists within a wide variety of contexts. In addition to text-based theatre, physical and visual stage arts are central to programming, including contemporary dance and circus, and this is complemented by a series of jazz and classical music concerts supported by Arts Council Norway. In 2014 Scenekunst Østfold became the only Norwegian member of IN SITU European Network for Creation of Art in Public Space. Since joining IN SITU there has been increasing emphasis on innovative, trans -disciplinary art in the public realm. The same year Scenekunst Østfold also began an extensive cooperation with NonStop International Theatre Festival in the town of Moss. Performing Arts Network–Østfold (Kulturhusnettverk Østfold) is an innovative project under Scenekunst Østfold that functions more as a laboratory than an institution. The primary objectives are to explore various models of cooperation where performing arts venues, broadly defined, are the central focus . This can take the form of cooperation between the regions venues, the milieu surrounding an individual venue, or national and international network-building. A cornerstone of the project is finding multiple forms of engagement with artists that visit the region; especially in cooperation with The Cultural Rucksack arts-inschools program. This frequently takes the form of larger residency programs. In addition to performances, the network organizes seminars, lectures, workshops, and masterclasses tailored to cultural schools, high schools, businesses, and professional artists in the region, as well as philosophical dialogues.

While Scenekunst Østfold has only a few years of experience presenting art in the public realm, this way of working has proven tremendously popular. In Norway, this kind of work is under-developed compared to France, Belgium, and other European countries . So there is a hunger to learn more about working this way among professionals and institutions that can support artists in this field. It is also important to expose artists working in Norway to innovative and interdisciplinary practices from other European artists. Østfold participate in many different projects, with different partners and arenas. These comprise projects that are festivals; contemporary circus and dance performances; intimate jazz and classical music concerts; cooperations with a national arts -in-schools program, and art in public space that varies from large spectacles to intimate, single-audience experiences. For large-scale public actions we are often 150–200 audience per action. In 2014, Scenekunst Østfold had total reported audience figures of 31.201 over 208 presentations, in 2015, it reached an audience of 81.635 over 478 presentations.